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Palo Alto school board says parcel tax renewal is critical

Original post made on Dec 11, 2009

Another school district--this one in Palo Alto--will ask voters to replace its current $493-a-year parcel tax that is set to expire in 2011 with a $589 levy to help pay down an expected $5.1-million budget shortfall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 11, 2009, 7:32 AM

Comments (57)

Posted by Warren, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Agree with the parcel tax or not, it appears Palo Alto at least has the leadership to say what the shortfall is expected to be and propose a multi-faceted solution. Palo Alto can now have a real debate about what is important to their community values. I hope all our citizens show up at the next meeting and demand this Board communicate openly about the problems and the solutions being investigated. Then we can have a real debate on ideas about what the shortfall is and what mix of additional revenue and additional cost reductions are best to close that gap and keep the school system healthy. If we can't get the Board to lead, we should have a special election to recall the current Board and replace them with some people that bring credibility and solutions.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Couldn't agree more. Lets put the real problem before the community and formulate a long term solution and leave nothing off the table.


Posted by parent, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I'll be happy to pay any parcel tax as long as the state refunds to me the funds I sent to them for the schools. But not one minute or dollar short of that will I ever vote for a parcel tax.


Posted by The Other Mary, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm

The parcel tax scam is a spiraling trap for property owners.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2009 at 7:06 pm

All of the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area already have parcel taxes in place. Districts like Palo Alto and Piedmont have high API scores and high quality education. A parcel tax for Pleasanton will help PUSD prevent further cuts in programs and maintain the high quality education system that citizens of Pleasanton demand.


Posted by einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 15, 2009 at 8:35 pm

einstein is a registered user.

Ok now any ideas for raising funds and reducing costs other than a parcel tax? I have been reading some of what has been written both for and against and seems as if there are so possibilities if further costs are reduced, waste eliminated, sweetheart deals like the ones described eliminated and previous agreement mitigated or withdrawn. A level of trust should be established before going forward with any initiative. I am surprised that some of the board members do not reside in the city or even state for that matter. If they have character they should resign immediately. I would suggest an independent group of non affliated executives be brought in to create clear direction going forward and yes I also believe it to be a scam on the taxpayers as well and does not have a chance of passing.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm

To Einstein,

" By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies you have mentioned above."

Web Link

Look toward the bottom of the above link. You are claiming to be the CEO of Google, Cisco, Apple, Oracle, or Intel.

IGNORE = TRUE

All of the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area already have parcel taxes in place. Districts like Palo Alto and Piedmont have high API scores and high quality education. A parcel tax for Pleasanton will help PUSD prevent further cuts in programs and maintain the high quality education system that citizens of Pleasanton demand.


Posted by The Other Mary, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Reader – You are starting to come across as the angry lone voice of fanaticism. People tend to ignore those who rave incessantly.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

To "The Other Mary",

The above poster claims to be the CEO of Google, Cisco, Apple, Oracle, or Intel.

Who exactly is raving? Did you follow that link?


Posted by Jean, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 16, 2009 at 7:01 am

Reader,

Honestly you have lost all luster in my eyes. You come off as just chanting hater attacking writer like a hurt child just lashing out. Einstein has been writing on these posts for a long time and regardless of whether I have agreed with him or not have found his posts to be intelligent and well thought through. Yours on the other hand are beginning to come off straight weird.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:01 am

To Jean,

Did you follow that link above? "Einstein" is happy to put outrageous claims in posts, and doesn't offer a retraction. He appears to be trolling.

Web Link)


Posted by The Other Mary, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:03 am

The last time I accepted "all the cool kids are doing it" as a justification for something I felt uncomfortable about was the day I lost my virginity. Fortunately there were no long term negative effects from that experience, but during the uncertain few weeks that followed I resolved to avoid letting poor decisions by others become the basis and justification for my future actions.

That was more years ago than I care to remember or reveal, but my point is a simple one. If you really have nothing more to say than "everyone else has jumped off the cliff" then your point has been duly noted and has now reached the point of annoyance. Personally I stopped letting Becky the cheerleader make decisions for me decades ago.


Posted by Einstein, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:23 am

Einstein is a registered user.

Reader,

First off I suggest that you read your own link. If you read thoroughly my messages and what you assumed you will see that I listed many more companies other than the few you referenced. Yes, I am CEO of one of those companies but not the ones you referenced. Read my messages thoroughly and you will understand or at least I hope so. I have been reading your blogs from time to time even when I have no time to respond and have noticed that you seem to get a thought in your mind and no matter what anyone says to you nor how much sense they make you stick to the same fundamentals.

"We need a parcel tax here in Pleasanton now"

"All the school districts who excel have one"

"We cannot run schools at 100% efficiency in terms of cost"

"It is against the law in California for a school use tax"

Obviously, I/we cannot get you to deviate from your very rigid thought process of 'everyone else does it so it must be good and will work here" but would like to point out a few things for consideration in terms of going forward in Pleasanton.

1) Annual expenses of the district should be made visible on the internet for all to see including details of expense reports.

2) Long term contracts and agreements need to be clarified to the community ie. Union contracts, landscaping, maintenance of facilities, vehicle maintenance etc. it is important for everyone to understand.

3) Union contracts with teachers including benefits and salaries including contractually agreed upon wage increases, cola.

4) Compensation strategies including adjustments for salary compression issues.

5) Sources of revenue both statewide and locally. Historical ratio of revenue to expenses tracking.

There is more required but you get the picture. Once this information is available I believe it will become obvious that there is still much cost cutting to be done and difficult decisions but at the end of the day once this is done properly and the community understands what has been done and what is left if some source of additional revenue is required it will be much more understandable and easy to justify. Items 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 will be a painful process because we would get significant resistance from the district, teachers, teachers union, and the board as it would expose some very terrible decisions and some very terrible agreements but this is what true leadership is about if they and we are truly interested in significant and positive change.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

Reader,

You have completely embarrassed yourself here and in previous posts and therefore I will repond to you no more. Please come up with some original idea.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Mary and Einstein,

You seem very "concerned" about education in Pleasanton. What schools do your children go to, I am wondering?

There will be a school board meeting on December 16 at 7 pm. This will be the perfect forum for you to air your viewpoints. Hope to see you there!


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 8:20 pm

To Einstein,

First you say.

" By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies you have mentioned above."

Then you say.

"Yes, I am CEO of one of those companies but not the ones you referenced. "

That makes sense how?


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 16, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Reader,

How dumb are you? read your own link and you will see that he lists more companies in the blog than the ones you guessed about. It is not hard because just scanning it I can guess that it is automotive and not google or one of those tech things.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

To Mary,

Nice manners there Mary.

"By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies YOU have mentioned above" (emphasis mine)

He isn't talking about companies he mentioned. He is talking about companies I mentioned. Get it?

He didn't say:

"By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies I have mentioned above"

He said:

"By the way, I am CEO of one of the companies YOU have mentioned above"

Understand now?

"I can guess that it is automotive and not google or one of those tech things."

That's a good one. Must be GM or Chrysler. Funny.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:37 am

Reader: just because other school districts have a parcel tax, it does not mean it is the right thing to do.

Read this mercury news article:

Web Link

It talks about a school district that laid off employees less than a year ago, and now that they get a little bit of money, they give pay raises to the superintendent and others, plus bonuses.

The administration is quoted as saying they cannot use the extra funds to re-hire those who were laid off, because that means an ongoing cost they cannot afford in these times of budget deficits. Yet they can afford the ongoing cost of higher salaries?

Like I said in a previous post: we need people on the school board who are financially capable of making good decisions. We do not need a parcel tax, we need a good financial plan, and that means capable board members as far as finances go.

Web Link


Posted by Christine, a resident of Danbury Park
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:05 am

Reader,

Not only have you lost interest in your much repeated and repeated and repeated writings you should also be banned by PW for your inability to read. I think you can see that most are just ignoring you now...........nice job.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Judging from the comments here, except for reader's, I would say that most of you don't really have children in school, because if you did you should be more concerned about the cuts that will happen to your child's school and subsequently how they will affect your child rather than teacher salaries. If you really had children in school and were volunteering on a regular basis, you would already realize the DIRE situation our schools are in, and you would already know that no amount of salary freezes, cuts in car and phone allowances, etc. is going to RESOLVE the crisis.

In order to protect the integrity of our schools--that is, maintaining class sizes and current staff, music and science programs, library, reading specialists--I think there needs to be some sort of blending of funding. Perhaps a smaller parcel tax, concessions from the staff, and heavier fundraising.

Opposing any community support no matter the amount because you would rather punish the teachers and district just smacks of a bad parent, if you ask me. I find it incredible you would rather your school and child do with less than to pay a hundred or so dollars per year to maintain a high quality education. Try getting that kind of private school education for the price of a parcel tax. Unbelievable.


Posted by Mali, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:04 pm

CP,

I have children in the schools and volunteer from time to time and I would hardly consider it a crisis nor dire. I believe everything is fine and our test scores show it. This talk about a parcel tax is just teachers trying to utilize fear to get raises. The parents deserve more credit in my opinion than the teachers. Nothing wrong here at all and let's quit the scare tactics. Not working anymore.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Concerned Parent,

It is a mistake to believe that those who are concerned will come to the same conclusions as you and therefore anyone who disagrees must not be concerned. It is purely out of concern that drives one to speak up. It is only the indifferent who are not concerned.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:05 pm

To Concerned,

"just because other school districts have a parcel tax, it does not mean it is the right thing to do."

I agree with you completely on this. We shouldn't pass a parcel tax just because all the other top quality school districts have done. We need to have a good a proper reason to pass one here. I disagree that we do not need a parcel tax. A parcel tax allows us to retain programs that would otherwise be lost due to a severe economic downturn. We have already increased our K-3 class sizes more than surrounding districts, have fired important support staff, and made other cuts to programs. The students are paying the price.

Sure, the school board needs to make good financial decisions, but they also need to make good decisions with regard to education and learning. On this front they have delivered. API scores are higher in Pleasanton than in surrounding districts and many parents seek out Pleasanton as a place to buy a home and raise children due to the superior schools. A parcel tax will help us maintain that high quality and continue to improve.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:06 pm

To Stacey,

"It is a mistake to believe that those who are concerned will come to the same conclusions "

I agree, but different people can be concerned with different things.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

To Mali,

" I believe everything is fine and our test scores show it."

I don't think we want to wait until test scores drop to do something about, because it may be a lot harder to repair the damage if we do. Parents and teachers care about things like CSR and other programs. I don't think Pleasanton's residents want to give the best teachers incentive to teach elsewhere.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:24 am

Mali, what makes you think everything is OK? Did you know that the school where my child is going has to cut library services and the reading specialist starting in January? And it is just about given that class size will go up to 30 for K-3, unless something is done.

No scare tactics here, just the facts.


Posted by Mali, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:57 am

All,

I am very happy with the schools and honestly it makes no difference to me if there are 30 children in a class because when I grew up I had more than that in my class so I do not see that as a problem. Reading Specialist? I believe that is a waste anyway, I read to my children and have them read to me as a means of development and guess what it works! My husband and I only watch the news at night so you would amazed how much time it frees up.

I think that the schools in our town are great and cannot figure out why anyone would think that giving a raise to teachers by virtue of a parcel tax when so many out there are hurting and do not have jobs makes no sense to me.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm

"Sure, the school board needs to make good financial decisions, but they also need to make good decisions with regard to education and learning. On this front they have delivered. API scores are higher in Pleasanton than in surrounding districts and many parents seek out Pleasanton as a place to buy a home and raise children due to the superior schools. A parcel tax will help us maintain that high quality and continue to improve."

Right now, we need people who can make good financial decisions because things are not looking good. This board has borrowed, and done some things that are not all that financially sound.

About the scores... I can tell you that from personal experience, my children have done well on their own. In fact, one of my children had a teacher who did not believe in the test system, and told them in class that the tests were designed for everyone to fail. Once I heard this, I went to the dept. of education and got all the materials I needed. I prepared my child for the test. No, I did not teach to the test, I taught the concepts, the standards that were supposed to be learned. So yes, Pleasanton is great, and they run a good district for the most part, but the parents have a lot to do with their children's success. My children do well in spite of bad teachers, and they will continue to do well in spite of budget cuts, because I will make sure of that. I am certain most Pleasanton parents will do the same.

Parcel taxes are perhaps needed, but first show me: 1) cuts at the administration level (yes, there is a lot to trim) and 2) board members who are capable of managing finances, and it starts at home, before one can manage a district, one has to be able to make sound financial decisions at a personal level. If one board member is not competent in the financial area, that person needs to refrain from voting on important financial issues, and the community needs to vote that person out when the time comes


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Okaaay, and the fact that you were educated in a crowded classroom shows.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm

This all seems to be about figuring out ways to throw more money into the teachers pockets at a time when the city is out of money or will be, the state is out of money and has been, the country is in financial difficulty and unemployment is over 10% and the underemployed when added brings it over 17%. Based on all of this I believe teachers who only work 8 months out of the year can offer it up for a few more years until things improve economically. If our test scores plummet because our teachers quit for other jobs in numbers then come back and let's discuss it. Until then let's focus on bigger things like city and school elimination of waste and cuts.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm

To Mary,

" If our test scores plummet because our teachers quit for other jobs in numbers then come back and let's discuss it. Until then let's focus on bigger things like city and school elimination of waste and cuts."

That sums up exactly what I think is the wrong attitude. If we wait for things to get worse, it may be much harder to fix things and fix a damaged reputation for our schools. Do you really think that "elimination of waste and cuts" is a bigger thing than high quality education?


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:17 pm

To Mali,

" why anyone would think that giving a raise to teachers"

OK, so don't give raises to teachers, if you think that is the most important thing. Make your voice heard. Get involved with the parcel tax planning process.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm

reader -- Pleasanton voters have all ready voted down the parcel tax once. Clearly you believe the District and the City have money to burn by putting it YET AGAIN on a ballot.

THAT is TRUE waste!


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Reader,

I think by now everyone knows how you feel and I would suggest that you take all of your money, mortgage your house and donate whatever proceeds it gives you to the schools. that is fine but leave my and others money alone.

I and my neighbors are very set in our votes and we are speaking with others about changing their votes from last time and because of the economy and bad feelings about the way our school district and city are being managed many are going to change as well.




On another note, I do not believe that our schools are in trouble at all. I went to school the other day and felt just as much energy and engagement as I have for years.




I and we have simply been taxed to death and my tank (money) is pretty empty. Nothing left to give I guess I might say. I would strongly suggest that even putting something like this to a vote be rethought prior to consideration and I do not want to hear again about the district hiring another consultant to study it.........another waste of money. I have a suggestion....why don't we cancel the $70,000,000 library and use the money for schools or how about cancelling the $250,000 swat response vehicle approved. How about the city employees just hanging around city hall doing nothing? Many things to consider before asking me for money while I am trying to figure out how to keep making my house payment.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm

To "Another Gatetree Resident",

"Pleasanton voters have all ready voted down the parcel tax once. Clearly you believe the District and the City have money to burn by putting it YET AGAIN on a ballot.

THAT is TRUE waste!"

Completely wrong. This is precisely the same pattern that played out in Palo Alto, and many other communities. First Measure I went on the ballot and was defeated. Then, soon after, a second parcel tax was put on the ballot with better community outreach and terms more palatable to the voters. The second parcel tax passed. It is a pattern that has played out in many other communities and is likely to happen here. In fact, all of the high quality school districts have parcel taxes in place.

I hope that you will get involved with getting a parcel tax on the ballot that meet the community's needs.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2009 at 11:02 pm

To Mary,

"I and we have simply been taxed to death and my tank (money) is pretty empty. Nothing left to give I guess I might say. "

How recently did you buy your house?

"hear again about the district hiring another consultant to study it"

Yes Kathleen Ruegsegger keeps saying that we should hire a consultant to help us find a new superintendent. She is entitled to her opinion. I think it is the right thing to do.

"I went to school the other day and felt just as much energy and engagement as I have for years. "

Sampling what you feel that the "energy and engagement" hardly means that our schools aren't in risk. I don't think we should wait until our test scores drop before we take action. Then again, some people don't really care what the test scores are for our schools. Where do you stand on that?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 19, 2009 at 8:51 am

Yes, finding someone to work with the board to find a new superintendent is money well spent for any board, but for a board who only has one person that has done this in the past, I'd say it is crucial.

I'll add that without a consultant and a survey of the community, a parcel tax has little chance of passing because those hoping for one to pass do not know what and how much the community is willing to pay. The first step is the survey defines what is valued and at what cost, the consultant helps write the resolution and language for the election, and then the consultant works with the committee at the committee's expense. I argued for this prior to the last attempt, directly with the board, to no avail. I hope these options will be considered this time.

Maybe Pleasanton will only be willing to pay $100 per parcel, and maybe it won't be for CSR, but this is better than a sharp stick in the eye. It also will help the new superintendent get a clean start, give the district an opportunity to regain our trust with how taxpayer dollars are being spent, give the unions an opportunity to find ways to save their own, and maybe maybe maybe, the community will be willing to do more in the future IF it is warranted. I think that is worth looking into.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 19, 2009 at 9:46 am

I have two major issues with even it being considered. First, the amount of waste and in my opinion borderline fraud in the district and city is just amazing and I believe it really takes guts to ask the citizens for more. Secondly, people in this town, me included, are truly hurint right now and to expect or I might say demand that they hand over money is just beyond civil understanding. Why don't you just ask people to annually gift as a way of raising the money. This way from year to year people who can will and those who cannot will wait a year. Otherwise, I feel the division even if passed will be even greater than normal. Now let's hear from Reader.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 19, 2009 at 10:59 am

Mary, I agree there may not be support for a parcel tax and that times are hard for many Pleasantonians. It's worth finding that out; otherwise all we are doing is debating without benefit of facts.

Gifting is difficult for a business that is 80% people. Yes, a job may be something many are willing to risk on a year to year basis based on fund raising, but not for the best of the best--they'll go where they are likely to have some security.

That PPIE hasn't done some very visible fund raising from the beginning of the school year is astounding. If they are doing anything, I'm not aware of it, and that has to mean others aren't either. I'd hate to think they believe the Grinch already stole (name your holiday here) and so aren't trying or are doing the usual with limited success. To be fair, I haven't checked.

I think the key is we don't know what we don't know.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2009 at 3:00 pm

To Mary,

I agree with what Kathleen said here.

"Gifting is difficult for a business that is 80% people. Yes, a job may be something many are willing to risk on a year to year basis based on fund raising, but not for the best of the best--they'll go where they are likely to have some security. "

And here.

" It's worth finding that out; otherwise all we are doing is debating without benefit of facts. "

I also wonder why PPIE hasn't done a fund raiser. I wrote them a pretty big check last time. I hope to get involved with the fund raiser the next time they do one.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 21, 2009 at 7:24 am

Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Completely wrong. This is precisely the same pattern that played out in Palo Alto, and many other communities. First Measure I went on the ballot and was defeated. Then, soon after, a second parcel tax was put on the ballot with better community outreach and terms more palatable to the voters. The second parcel tax passed. It is a pattern that has played out in many other communities and is likely to happen here. In fact, all of the high quality school districts have parcel taxes in place.

I hope that you will get involved with getting a parcel tax on the ballot that meet the community's needs.
___________________________

First, it may be WRONG based on OTHER communities. However, I resent being told I'm wrong until that's proven to be the case in Pleasanton.

Second, if I were to work for a parcel tax -- it would be to defeat it.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 21, 2009 at 8:47 am

Reader, Not exactly precise. You have missed some important information. There was a parcel tax put in place in PAUSD about ten years ago, before Measure I (which was the first replacement attempt). The amount was dropped by $27 per parcel and the years cut from eight to six and then it passed.

A lot of the high quality school district had parcel taxes before the state financing fell short--making those districts forward-thinking while ours was . . . not for reasons like this (from thread on BAC):

Posted by Al Cohen, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, 10 minutes ago

Just to clarify, I have resigned from the BAC. My tenure did not prove as effective as I had hoped. The parents role was essentially to be an "ambassador" to the community. This is not what I was led to believe by the school board member who asked me to join.

It was clear that "parents" were there to just rubber stamp the districts position. This was not what I was trying to accomplish. I was led to believe that bringing 30+ years of business experience, coupled with a decade of service at the school site level, I could lend a different perspective. While I was allowed to give my views, it was clear they were not received well judging by the body language in the room. I know that a number of other "parents" have walked away from this committee and have not bothered to even resign.

IMHO to make this forum really effective, you need to reduce the size of the group, make it more balanced (strongly skewed for the status quo) and give it a real mission and allow out of the box thinking. Al Cohen AV School Site Council.

----------------------
And there's the information about the recent board meeting on another thread as well.

There's little chance of a parcel tax passing with the attitudes of some board members and some administrators carrying on the same way they did before Measure G. No lessons learned.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:07 am

To Kathleen,

"Reader, Not exactly precise. You have missed some important information. There was a parcel tax put in place in PAUSD about ten years ago, before Measure I (which was the first replacement attempt). The amount was dropped by $27 per parcel and the years cut from eight to six and then it passed. "

With all due respect, I didn't miss that information. I'm saying PUSD can change the terms from what was in Measure G for a future parcel tax.

"A lot of the high quality school district had parcel taxes before the state financing fell short--making those districts forward-thinking while ours was . . . not for reasons like this (from thread on BAC):"

I know, and agree that they were more forward thinking.

"And there's the information about the recent board meeting on another thread as well."

It seems to me that there were disagreements, and that is all. Some decision has to prevail.

"There's little chance of a parcel tax passing with the attitudes of some board members and some administrators carrying on the same way they did before Measure G. No lessons learned."

I think you should say that you won't vote for a parcel if "board members and some administrators carry on the same way they did before Measure G." A parcel tax may well pass with only a change in language, amount, and time period. I agree with you that there should be more public outreach and a survey.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

To "Another Gatetree Resident"

"Second, if I were to work for a parcel tax -- it would be to defeat it."

Is that because you are against all parcel taxes, or just a parcel tax in Pleasanton, regardless of any changes in the tax or the composition of the school board?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "It seems to me that there were disagreements, and that is all. Some decision has to prevail."

There were no decisions to be made!


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:22 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Mr. Cohen wrote here last year about the need for a parcel tax. I respected his words even though I disagreed with him. For him to come here and write about his experience with the current BAC process is a big deal.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2009 at 10:27 am

Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Dec 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

Is that because you are against all parcel taxes, or just a parcel tax in Pleasanton, regardless of any changes in the tax or the composition of the school board?
---------------------------------------------------

Neither. When I see District AND Student Waste coupled with Parental moaning, I certainly am not open to throwing more of my hard earned money into a bottomless pit.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm

To "Another Gatetree Resident",

"When I see District AND Student Waste coupled with Parental moaning"

I'm trying to make sense of this response. Are you saying you won't support a parcel tax if people complain? What do you mean by "Student Waste"? You do realize the Pleasanton schools are highly regarded and sought out by parents. They recently got Silver Medal status at US News and World Report survey of top high schools.

We're you aware that all the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area currently use parcel taxes?


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, 17 minutes ago

To "Another Gatetree Resident",

"When I see District AND Student Waste coupled with Parental moaning"

I'm trying to make sense of this response. Are you saying you won't support a parcel tax if people complain? What do you mean by "Student Waste"? You do realize the Pleasanton schools are highly regarded and sought out by parents. They recently got Silver Medal status at US News and World Report survey of top high schools.

We're you aware that all the other high quality school districts in the Bay Area currently use parcel taxes?

_______________________________

Reader -- Let me see if I can help you make sense of my comments.

1) No, I'm not saying I won't support a parcel tax if people complain. I'm saying that those who constantly beat the doom and gloom, Chicken Little The Sky Is Falling drum, and INSIST the schools will see a demise (along with property values) if a parcel tax isn't passed are those who have completely lost my support. Your shrilling on this board comes immediately to mind.

2) Student Waste? I've posted about this all ready but I'll restate it. On any given night I can peer over my back fence and see all sorts of sports equipment left out on the fields. Wasteful. In addition, students clearly value a sports field sound system over true academic items. If those things are valued, and funded -- regardless of source -- then clearly my money isn't really needed.

3) Yes, I realize Pleasanton Schools are highly desired by parents. As someone without children, what exactly is that supposed to mean to me? Am I to care that others who choose to continue to populate this planet desire Pleasanton? How is that sales pitch supposed to make me interested in supporting a parcel tax?

You are clearly all for the parcel tax. Knock yourself out. Myself, I'll support keeping my taxes lower and I'll band with others who feel the same way.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

"Yes, I realize Pleasanton Schools are highly desired by parents. As someone without children, what exactly is that supposed to mean to me? Am I to care that others who choose to continue to populate this planet desire Pleasanton? How is that sales pitch supposed to make me interested in supporting a parcel tax? "

It isn't just for people with children, and it isn't just about property values, though good schools do have an obvious, measurable effect on property values. It is also about low crime. Good school districts correlate well with low crime rates also. There are many more reasons for people without children to support good schools.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 23, 2009 at 8:52 am

Posted by a reader, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, 14 hours ago

"It isn't just for people with children, and it isn't just about property values, though good schools do have an obvious, measurable effect on property values. It is also about low crime. Good school districts correlate well with low crime rates also. There are many more reasons for people without children to support good schools."

_________________________________________________

I'm sure communities like Belmont, San Carlos, Atherton, and Hillsborough (given you love to compare Pleasanton to the Peninsula) would love to know they would not be considered "low crime" because they don't have a parcel tax.

Dare I say your argument is weakening from my perspective?


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Indeed that's the faulty logic being used.

- Community X has a parcel tax
- Community X's schools are great
- Therefore it follows that the parcel tax is the cause of the great schools.

To illustrate the fallacy of this logic...

- Community X has a parcel tax
- Community X has students that cheat on tests
- Therefore it follows that the parcel tax is the cause of the student cheating


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:33 am

Stacey is a registered user.

A reader wrote: "It isn't just for people with children, and it isn't just about property values, though good schools do have an obvious, measurable effect on property values. It is also about low crime. Good school districts correlate well with low crime rates also. There are many more reasons for people without children to support good schools."

OK, so this is where the friction begins. You see, there is a measurable effect on property value so it follows that property owners without children benefit from good schools. But then you have to dig deeper. You have to ask what are the measurables that are valued by the housing market? And the reason you would ask this question is because property owners without children would find it in their best interest to have these measurables maximized. Whatever it is that is directly benefiting their property values should be the whole focus of what goes on at the schools. So then you'd look at what is proposed to be paid for by a parcel tax like custodians and librarians and counselors. And you'd ask yourself, well how does paying the salary of an extra counselor increase those measurables? When you find the answers, you quickly discover that what is most beneficial to a system conceived with a substantive concept of education is highly conflicting with the interests of property owners.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:34 am

Stacey is a registered user.

This is one reason why funding education via local parcel and property taxes actually ends up in conflict with what is beneficial to students.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Even CSR can be questioned. The existence of CSR is valued by the housing market, but it isn't the number one thing. That would be test scores. The higher the test scores, the higher the property value. So you'd have to ask what effect CSR has on test scores? You'd find out that the effect is rather small, but the program is popular with parents and teachers. So sometimes the effective programs end up getting cut in favor of the popular programs.

And teacher experience and quality is little valued by the housing market even though this is the thing that has one of the most crucial effects on student outcomes. Another little valued thing is improvement in student achievements. A poor district can make big strides in student achievement and it would still remain poor.


Posted by Another Gatetree Resident, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Stacey -- I love the way your mind works!


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